Tommy Vitolo – Brookline’s Progressive Voice
In November 2018 Tommy Vitolo was elected State Representative for the 15th Norfolk district, consisting of Brookline precincts 2-4 and 6-13. He serves as a member of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs; the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development; the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business; and the Joint Committee on Public Service.
In the 2019-2020 session Tommy has sponsored multiple important bills including H.3617, to allow older adults with lower income to defer property tax payment; H.953, to ensure charter school transparency and public accountability; H.2390, to prohibit state construction or renovation of fossil fuel heating systems; H.3626, to ensure that people using non-motorized scooters, bicycles, roller blades, roller skates, and skateboards are protected by crosswalk laws; and H.4070 to allow Brookline to offer property tax relief for low and moderate income seniors. Tommy continues to look for new opportunities for bills that will help our town and state move forward.
Tommy grew up in a working class New England neighborhood. Kids played outside in big groups and there were neighborhood barbecues nearly every weekend all summer long. Parents were coaches, scout leaders, PTO captains, and members of civic organizations. When the bank foreclosed on his childhood home, Tommy realized how fragile life can be for families. He also realized the value of community, as neighbors quietly stepped up to help while his family found a new place to live.
Tommy worked hard at school, earning a full merit scholarship to NC State, where he earned three bachelor’s degrees and met his wife, Jenn. After earning a master’s degree in Ireland as a Mitchell Scholar, Tommy enrolled in a PhD program at Boston University’s College of Engineering in 2002. He and his wife Jenn settled in Brookline, in a 399 square foot apartment on Saint Mary’s Street overlooking the Pike. Later they saved enough money to purchase a one-bedroom condo and later still, when they learned their son would soon have a younger playmate, a home near Washington Street.
After earning his PhD in Systems Engineering, and spending six months as a stay-at-home dad, Tommy began working at Synapse Energy Economics. He’s been there for the past nine years, providing technical analysis and advice on energy matters to public interest clients such as attorneys general and environmental advocates. Tommy has spent that time fighting for utility customers and for cleaner environmental outcomes around the country, resulting in the forced retirement of coal-fired power plants, the prevention of new natural gas infrastructure, and the construction of new wind turbines, solar farms, and energy efficiency installations.
But Tommy also wanted to contribute to his own town, because he recognized that same sense of community that he had experienced as a kid. Tommy became an active part of his neighborhood and his town, volunteering on efforts like the Brookline Community Foundation building renovation and the Brookline Rotary’s Dancing with the Stars fund raiser. Tommy was first elected to Town Meeting in 2007, and has also served as Constable since 2010. He’s authored nine local bills, covering everything from education to clean energy, diversity to public health. Beyond that, Tommy has also helped his Town Meeting colleagues pass dozens of bills and budget line items to help Brookline. He’s worked directly with petitioners, advocated in committees, and helped his colleagues in Town Meeting find common ground. Tommy was also Field Director of the 2015 Yes campaign, and an advisor to the 2018 Yes campaign, in support of much-needed overrides to fund school renovations, additional teachers, and maintaining town services.
Tommy now brings his values, education, experience, and commitment to the State House, where he continues to fight for the Town of Brookline and for the Commonwealth.